Young girl looks through a sprig of leaves.
Exploring Nature Young girl looks through a sprig of leaves. © Devan King/TNC

Nature Lab

Youth Education Resources for Grades K-5

All Resources for Grades K-5

Download our educational resources for students in elementary school. Lessons cover how dirt works, the role of pollinators, how nature filters water, and more! Each lesson plan comes with a free teacher's guide and video.

Homegrown tomatoes
Homegrown tomatoes Danyell Brent displays the bounty of tomatoes from his community garden in Philadelphia. © Marc Steiner

Food and Carbon

Students will consider different ways food is produced, transported and consumed and will evaluate how food they grow locally may have a smaller carbon footprint than food found in the grocery store. The Industrial Tomato and The Local Tomato highlight the differences between the two types of tomatoes.

Watch The Industrial Tomato | Watch The Local Tomato | Download Teacher Guide

Birmingham, Alabama
Birmingham, Alabama A student from historic Woodlawn High School in Birmingham, Alabama, holds a handful of soil while working on a "conservation lab." © Devan King/TNC

How Dirt Works

Soil sustains plant and animal life, regulates water, filters pollutants, cycles nutrients and supports structures. In this lesson, students learn the value of soil and its role as a natural resource. 

Watch Video | Download Teacher Guide

Volunteers with plants.
Volunteers with plants. Volunteers install a rain and pollinator garden at a Chicago Public School. © Sandy Bressner

Gardens as Living Systems

In this lesson, students explore how a garden works as a living natural system. A garden filters water, provides habitat, improves soil, reduces your carbon footprint and engages the community.

Watch Video | Download Teacher Guide

Soil sampling
Soil sampling a wetland outside Wilmington, Delaware. © Devan King/TNC

The Role of Soil

Soil is the building block of all natural systems and is a crucial resource for all life on earth. When managed properly, soil supports healthy and productive habitats in your garden and in nature. In this lesson, students conduct soil analyses to understand soil types and determine the health of their garden soil.

Watch Video | Download Teacher Guide | Educator Support Video

Tranquilo by the Kilo
Tranquilo by the Kilo Hidden Waterfall in the Portuguese Island, Terceira, Azores © Claire Ryser /TNC Photo Contest 2019

How Water Works in Your Garden

By filtering rainwater and slowing the movement of water to rivers, lakes and oceans, your garden works as a mini-watershed. In this lesson, students calculate the permeable surface area of their garden and periodically measure rainfall amounts, acting as junior hydrologists.

Watch Video | Download Teacher Guide | Educator Support Video

Explore Our Youth Curriculum

Access resources aligned to The Nature Conservancy's research and designed specifically for a young audience and classroom use.